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Salt and Pepper Shaker Collecting Tips

By Charles Hopkins Published 06/24/2006 | Food & Drink
The humble salt and pepper shaker has had a place of honor in homes for many, many years. Fancy or simple, charming or utilitarian, salt and pepper shakers hold the most popular additives to the food prepared in your home. So you know why they are important - but what makes them interesting for collectors?


For the special group of people who develop a collecting bug for what may seem to be a commonplace object, it is most often the sentiment or emotions attached to the items rather than their value that turns an admirer into a collector.

Perhaps a set of whimsical shakers attracts your attention at a flea market or shop. A memorable trip may have been commemorated with a special set of shakers. Even an inherited set of vintage shakers reminding you of a special person may have inspired you to start collecting.

Have you been hit with the bug? If you just can't understand why it's hard to resist the temptation of a humorous set of shakers you're not alone. There are many collectors and a growing number of clubs or groups dedicated to the collecting of salt and pepper shakers. What should you know? What should you collect? Where do you go to find great pieces?


Salt and pepper shakers are a fairly inexpensive item to collect. Often ranging in prices under 20 and not higher than 50, shakers can easily be found in a wide variety of styles and genres. You may buy them at a flea market, souvenir shop, online store or even an auction.

Since collectors are not usually focused on investment value it is best to collect shakers that appeal to you on an emotional level. You may look for a particular theme: animal, floral, people or fruit as an example. You may also be drawn to novelty, vintage, antique or sets created by a certain manufacturer or country.

Shakers come in many materials, from wood, metal and glass to plastic and crystal. You will find a wide array of styles that include stacking, 'kissing', hanging, nesters and highboy sets to name a few. Searching for information on your pieces will enhance your enjoyment of collecting.


There are collector shows that can provide both a social and informational gathering for avid collectors. At these shows you can find out more about your collection as well as view the expansive variety of shakers brought by other collectors.

You can also find collector groups that provide newsletters to share information about their collections and can help you identify your unique pieces. Some groups are created for specific types of shaker collections while others encourage a generic mix. Look online for a group that fits your collecting style.

Aside from learning about the history of your collections, you will want to take care of your finds. If you are keeping your shakers on open display take care to dust them and keep them out of reach of children or animals. Small cracks or flaking paint will diminish their value if you ever sell, so look for that when purchasing and try to prevent mishandling of your sets.

If you have a large collection you can keep a record of your shaker sets. Manufacturing information, place of purchase, price paid and style are all worthwhile to record.

Salt and pepper shaker collecting is a fun and addictive hobby, so buy what you enjoy and have a good time sharing your collecting stories!